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  split picture disc  
  Hood / Themselves  
  Rocket Racer  
Release Date:
  summer of 2004  
Reviewed by:

Since releasing their post-rock masterpiece Cold House back in 2001, Hood have been largely silent. This is the first new material they have released since then, and i must say that i was really looking forward to it.

Before i get into the music, let me discuss the vinyl itself. This is a picture disc. I have always loved picture discs -- i find it entrancing to watch them spin on the turntable. So, kudos to Rocket Racer Records for that. And, although this isn't the really thick vinyl, it still feels slightly sturdier than a lot of 7"s, so that's another plus. However, Rocket Racer lose points for really minimal packaging. Minimal as in, well, none. The 7" comes in a clear plastic sleeve, and nowhere on it could i find an indication of the speed at which to play the disc. This is a real pet peeve of mine, and i am going to keep harping on it until labels do something about it! Anyway, in case you were wondering, this is a 33 RPM release.

Hood's tune, You Shins Break My Heart, is actually pretty good. It's not a meandering slow tune like the stuff on Cold House, but rather hearkens back to the early days of Hood, where their music often sounded chaotic. This song has layers of guitar, drums, vocals, backing vocals, and horns all thrown together. It has a structure, but elements come in and out of focus, and, towards the end, it gets delicously noisy as the drummer, apparently, destroys his kit. Very nice.

On the flip side we have a new tune from Themselves, who are sort of related to Hood now that rapper Dose One rapped with Hood on Cold House. It's good to see that they are still working together, although i am not really sure if there is any collaboration here. It almost sounds like it though, as the Themselves tune, P.U.S.H. features guitarwork loops that almost sound Hood-y. This is combined with a nice, fuzzed out rap from Dose One and some good keyboard work from Jel. Again, it is a sort of chaotic messy song, with the Hood-like guitars, the keys, and the rap all competing for the foremost position in the music. It's not the best Themselves tune i have heard, but it's not without it's charm.

Overall, this is a pretty good 7". It's messy and wierd, but i like it. If you like either of these acts, then i bet you will be pleased with it. However, if slightly avante post-rock and/or hip-hop are not your thing, then this might best be avoided. For the fans who look at this single as a portent of the next Hood album, well, it sounds promising to me...

Related Links:

Cold House, by Hood
The No Music by Themselves


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